How do you define yourself ?
Kayhan Life/Kayhan Life
“How do you define yourself?” I am asked.
Of the human species. A woman. Born into a Jewish family in a predominantly Shiite Muslim country. Lived in Iran for twelve years. Family. Home. Safety. Prosperity. Friendships. Lightness of being.
Then a revolution. The newspapers wrote ‘Of the masses, for the masses.’ Gone wrong. Stability gone. Trust no one. Darkness. Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear. Wandering Jews.
We fled, moved around, tried to find a new home.
Uproot a tree; throw it as far and as hard as you can, where the eye cannot see. Then look at where it lands- and no matter where it is- ask it to grow.
Grow as it was. As tall. As bountiful. As green.
How do you mend a broken tree?
Immigration. Asylum. Asking. Waiting. Hoping…
And acceptance to a new land, learning a new language and a new way of being.
These United States have been my home. Today there is no other tangible place.
My childhood memories will forever dance to the rhythm of Googoosh’s songs; Persian poetry and literature echo through every hallway of my being, nothing feeds my hunger like a bowl of rice with tasty Persian stews.
But my mind’s curiosity was challenged and nourished in school and university classrooms in this land. I said my vows to my beloved here. My children were born in the City of Angels. We bought our first house here. My parents are buried a few miles north of where I live.
I am an Iranian-American Jewish woman – with every part of my hyphenated introduction representing a deeply meaningful anchor of my existence.
I know that I am not alone. My story is your story and yours is mine.
So I say bless this land with my whole-heart for accepting my family and allowing us to become whole again.
And in these times of darkness and uncertainty in the world, regardless of where your compass points to – may the same light of compassion and hope that embraced my family and gave us the opportunity to grow, continue to guide us through.